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Joe Biden accepts the Democratic Party’s nomination for president

Biden became the Democratic presidential nominee after three attempts and is set to take on President Trump in three debates and the general election. 

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On Thursday Aug. 20, 2020, former vice president Joe Biden took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to accept his party’s nomination for president. 

The former Senator from Delaware first ran for president in 1988. He dropped out before any primary contests and that was mainly because of a plagiarism scandal. 

Several of his campaign speeches included large segments of famous addresses given by Neil Kinnock, former leader of the U.K.’s Labour Party, and both John and Robert Kennedy. 

Twenty years after his first attempt, Biden sought the presidency again. 

He did not go far in 2008 either but the eventual nominee, Barack Obama, decided to make Biden his running mate even after he had described him in a problematic way on the campaign trail. 

“I mean you’ve the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and nice looking guy. I mean that’s a storybook man,” Biden said

A major factor that made President Obama pick Biden was because of his vast knowledge on international affairs. He had been the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on three separate occasions, including during his 2008 candidacy.

Once elected, the pair passed landmark legislation like the Affordable Care Act, the Iran Nuclear Deal and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

They also killed Osama bin Laden, reopened diplomatic relations with Cuba, and joined the Paris Climate Accord. 

Although their achievements together were substantial, this does not mean all of the people in this country felt the “Hope and Change” that Obama campaigned on in both 2008 and 2012.

They deported over three million undocumented immigrants, failed to end the war in Afghanistan and could not include a public option as part of their health care reform even with a Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress.

Many had predicted that the former vice president would continue to fight to further progress the policies of the Obama administration with a presidential run in 2016, but two things stopped him. 

The establishment-wing of the Democratic party had favored former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to continue their status-quo. 

Biden had also suffered the loss of his eldest son, Beau Biden, to brain cancer in January 2015. 

He notes that motivated him to join the large field of candidates in the 2020 Democratic primary and that it was his view that President Trump was stoking racial divisions in this country. 

He specifically cited the president’s comments after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VI. in Aug. 2017. White supremacist and neo-Nazis took rioted for days chanted racist bile and violently protested because the city wanted to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. 

When asked about leftist groups that protested and fought against the rally Trump said, “you had very fine people on both sides.”

This made Biden kickstart his campaign in April 2019 and it prompted his slogan: “We’re in the battle for the soul of this nation.” 

The former vice president’s campaign has given voters an indication that he is going to be a one-term president. 

“If Biden is elected,” a prominent adviser to the campaign said, “he’s going to be 82 years old in four years and he won’t be running for reelection.”

Being 78 on inauguration day, he would be the oldest president ever elected to a first term in American history. 

This would leave Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, as the front runner in the Democratic primary in 2024. 

With the progressive-wing growing in representation within the chambers of Congress, a Biden-Harris administration will have to listen to a sizable amount of their proposals if Senator Harris wants to fend off a primary challenge after Biden retires from public office.

They have to notice that less people have an appetite for neoliberalism. 

The proof rests in the fact that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self identifying Democratic-Socialist, was the runner up in the last two Democratic presidential primary cycles. 

If it took Biden three attempts to become president, it could be the same for progressives. 

That 2024 challenger could be a prominent progressive like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York, or maybe that person has yet to serve in Congress. 

Obama only served two years in the Senate before mounting one of the most inspiring presidential campaigns of the last century. 

Democrats will have to be very calculated because even if that primary is unsuccessful, it is sure to weaken Harris’s standing in a general election against the Republican candidate. 

The same happened to former president Jimmy Carter in 1980. 

After serving his first term, Carter faced a primary challenge from Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who wanted to move the country to the left. 

Kennedy grew a massive following and took his campaign all the way to the convention. Even though he conceded, the party was divided and the damage had been done. 

President Carter lost to California Governor Ronald Reagan in a landslide in November. 

Ironically, Reagan challenging Gerald Ford from the far right in part led him to lose against Carter in 1976. 

Although her record as a prosecutor in California worries many progressives, Senator Harris has consistently ranked amongst the top five most liberal Senators since being elected in 2016. 

If she continues to have a similar mindset as vice president, Harris will have a better chance of not facing a serious challenger or she will at least be more equipped when pitching herself as a leader that values progressives in four years. 

Like the presidencies before him, the Biden White House will be defined by the issues around him and those he chose to fight for. 

One thing is certain, he has prioritized sowing divisions in America and he made this clear in his convention speech. 

“But while I’ll be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president. I’ll work hard for those who didn’t support me, as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me. That’s the job of president … this is not a partisan moment this must be an American moment,” Biden said.

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